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Discover the upside of downsizing

We know it’s hard to start. 

You’ve built up all your things over time. You’ve paid hard earned money to have everything – or you’ve been given them by friends and family. So it can be difficult, daunting and downright emotional to let go as they have memory anchors attached to them.

That’s why at A Place For Everything we’ve proven top tips to make downsizing simpler and less stressful…

The upside of downsizing

Have your family left home? Have your circumstances changed? Are you moving because of work? Are you moving your parents into a retirement home or nursing home? Or do you simply want to declutter?

You have to be ready to sort things out, so get your mind right first. Whatever your reasons for downsizing, focus on the great freedoms and benefits…

Having less frees you up more…

  • Feel pleased with having a neat home that need less tidying
  • Feel satisfied for clearing clutter and taking back control of your home.
  • Feel calmer and less cramped as you’ve more room to move around.
  • Really appreciate the things that are most important as they’re easier to see and not hidden.
  • Pay less with smaller gas, electricity and council tax bills if you have a smaller home and fewer bedrooms.

Be realistic

You can’t fit a quart into a pint pot. If you’re moving to a smaller property, you won’t be able to cram everything in – even if you use a crowbar. Think about the space you’ll have – and how much you can comfortably fit in: then set yourself a target to aim at. And leave growing room for new items, presents and memories too. 

Measure up before you move

Check the space in your new place. Draw a floor plan to scale on graph paper. Then cut out separate pieces for the major furniture… sofas and chairs, wardrobes, chests of drawers and beds – and overlay them onto the plan to see how they’ll fit. You’ll then know before you move what fits and what needs a new home. Remember to check the ceiling height too, especially if the room is in the eaves of a house. 

Use the 1-year rule: 

Once the big bits are done, sort the small stuff with Marie Kondo’s method below. 
Remember the 1-year rule: If you’ve not used it in a year, you’re unlikely to in the future. Of course there are exceptions: keep things you use regularly / seasonally, or that are practical, or that have huge sentimental value that you want to pass to future generations. 
From simple boxes to complete room storage solutions, at A Place For Everything, we help you maximise the storage you need for the things you have in your available space – in whatever shape or size you want. 

Do you spark joy? Try the Marie Kondo method:

Marie Kondo is the Japanese organising guru, decluttering dynamo and star of the Netflix series ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo’. Try her twin-track approach to tidying:
1. Get everything and lay it out: ask yourself if it ‘sparks joy’. If not, thank it for its service and get rid of it. 
2. Put your remaining joy-sparking belongings in a place where they’re visible,     accessible and easy to grab. 

Kondo: Tackle categories rather than rooms

So sort out categories such as shoes, then you’ll be rewarded with joy, pride and satisfaction when you’ve finished and every time you get ready. Starting with shoes is ideal as Kondo loves using shoeboxes as organisers and drawer dividers for folded clothes etc.
Rather than fixating on what you say goodbye to, the Kondo technique focuses on the positives – the things you really want to keep. As you ask “does it spark joy” perhaps you could sing The Clash song ‘Should I stay or should I go?’

Match up your space to your possessions: 

It's obvious, but only keep items you need. If you’re downsizing from a house to a flat. managed property, you won’t need a ladder, lawnmower; hedge cutter or other garden equipment. 
Be realistic: If you’re downsizing to fewer bedrooms, you won’t need as many beds, mattresses or probably wardrobes and chests of drawers either.  
Look at your lounge: are there spare TVs, computers or redundant video recorders and DVD players hogging space? Or is there a rowing machine or exercise bike that’s realistically redundant?
In your kitchen, don’t double-up, just downsize. How many mugs, glasses or sets of cutlery and crockery do you really need, especially if you don’t entertain regularly? Are there some kitchen gadgets or utensils that you simply never use? 
Do you have old food, herbs and spices that’s passed its sell-by date or that you’ve not used for a while? Clear them out: you’ll be delighted how much room you free up and how good it feels. 

Take time

Take time to thin out your things. It can be emotional as your things are tied to your memories. It could take up to 3 months: but set yourself a timeline to go through it at your own pace and do it in bite-size chunks so it’s less daunting. 

When you move in, start with the best first

This applies to everything whether it’s clothes or shoes, towels or toiletries, books or magazines, electrics and power tools etc. Then if you’ve lots of leftovers that aren’t in such good condition, you’ll know you’ve got the best stuff already, so you won’t feel bad about letting the rest go. If you’ve multiple photos from a particular occasion – then just choose the best one. 

To store or not to store?

If you’re moving to a smaller property, then you may consider putting them into storage. But would you ever really use them again? Wouldn’t it be better to have a clutter clear out?

Giving feels good

It feels good making people happy. So give items away to relatives, family/ friends and charity shops. You’ll then have the satisfaction of knowing that someone else enjoys them as much as you do. Try emailing friends and family about the things they may want and just let them choose. Or sell items on eBay, Etsy, Amazon and Gumtree, Craigslist – or at a car boot or jumble sale.

Display or put away?

If you have too many must-have sentimental keepsakes, then consider some innovative storage shelves that maximise your vertical space. Or pack them neatly in quality storage boxes. If you’ve too many items to fit onto your shelf or display cabinet, try rotating them round so you see some fresh ones every few months. 

Make the most of your memories.

Sentimental keepsakes are the hardest to let go. So try separating out what’s truly meaningful to you and what is simply gathering dust. At A Place For Everything we have superb space-saving solutions for every special memory…

Beautiful boxes for beautiful things

If you’re going to display precious possessions, then store them away in quality boxes. We’ve boxes for wedding dresses, jewellery, watches, pictures and delicate keepsakes to keep them safe, dust-free and safe from damage from sun, damp and hungry moths.

Keep important documents safe

Finances, insurance, Wills, legal documents, passports and birth certificates: keep all your important paperwork all in one place, such as a waterproof VIP Document Box. Top tip when moving: put them in the bath so you’ll know exactly where you’ve placed them. 

Embrace paperless

Apart from VIP documents, you can digitise almost everything else. Most documents can be stored as PDF files and uploaded online. The same is true for photos and entertainment. If you can watch it or listen to it, you can digitise it. So transfer your music, films and TV shows from CDs, DVDs and videos as digital files. You can save everything online to cloud systems or onto hard drives, phones, iPods and more.

See-through storage.

When chucking out or moving home, you’ll want to find items easily. So choose clear see-through storage with lids so you can stack them to maximise space and protect everything from dust. 
Think about safety if choosing stacking boxes. Consider Step Stools or a Step Ladder. Or our clever Wall Store: you just stack your storage boxes on special shelves: each one can slide out independently. It’s much safer, plus it saves the hassle of unloading all the stacked boxes just to reach the bottom one!

Label to save time searching

If you’re moving, everything needs packing up. So save yourself the hassle of hunting: add clear contents labels to identify them by the date, event, person or contents group. Removable Labels are easier to update over time. 

Maximise every inch of your new space

Think about your new home with fresh eyes…                  

The Elfa in the room

Elfa is a bespoke system maximising every inch of storage space whatever your size or shape of room. It’s easy to extend, adapt, move to a different room or a new home. 
Brilliantly simple and simply brilliant: it just needs a single rail across the top: everything else hangs down from it, so your wall isn’t peppered with holes. Strong and robust it has a 10-year guarantee.
Can’t decide where to start? See our Best Selling Elfa Solutions: pre-designed packages for specific rooms and needs. Or have a free consultation with our Specialist Elfa Team to create a bespoke solution to fit your exact space.
Allow for growing room as you collect more things over time, with mementos from holidays and special occasions, plus gifts from friends and relatives. With Elfa, you can add more as you collect more things.
Wherever you’re downsizing to, just make sure you have a place for everything and then everything will be in its place. 
Share your downsizing secrets.